Star Alliance member Scandinavian Airlines has a shareholder program open to anyone who owns at least 4000 shares in the carrier. What’s most interesting is the benefit for those who own 100,000 shares.
A purchase of 100,000 shares entitles you to Star Alliance Gold. At current US dollar pricing of 27 cents a share, that’s a $27,000 investment.
- I wouldn’t pay $27,000 for SAS Gold which is Star Alliance Gold.
- But maybe it’s worth investing in the stock? Let’s assume the shares retain their value, neither going up nor down. In that case you still have your $27,000 and for the cost of a trading commission you get a tax-free dividend in the form of Gold status.
Now, I do not giving stock trading advice. And you have to register your account in a Scandinavian country to do this, which I won’t tell you to do either. My own general approach is to buy lowest cost broad-based stock mutual funds and exchange traded funds rather than investing in individual stocks or even sectors.
However unless you think the airline is going out of business – after receiving a US$1.5 billion bailout this summer – it may not be a bad play, of course you risk losing some of your principal. (I just happen to think a year from now the stock won’t be worth ‘less than’ it is today. That’s a bet on my optimism overall about therapeutics and a safe and modestly effective vaccine).
Gold status normally requires 45 flight segments or 45,000 base points. You get:
- lounge access when flying Star Alliance carriers like United (i.e. access to United Clubs, Lufthansa and Turkish lounges, etc)
- Airport priority and extra checked baggage.
- There are also benefits with Radisson, Scandic, and other hotel chains for SAS EuroBonus Gold members.
It’s worth noting that 1 million or more shares entitles you to SAS Diamond status but that’s not something I’d consider since as an American not regularly flying SAS Diamond status doesn’t really provide incremental benefits when flying United Airlines. That – and we’re talking about a ton of money to risk. I wouldn’t let this offer drive your investing decisions but for those inclined to bet on SAS stock anyway Gold status seems a sweet spot.
Status offers require you to acquire stock by November 30, and it can take a month of holding the stock before your status as a stockholder is reflected in the system allowing you to register for benefits.
Bear in mind that you can accomplish the same thing with an elite status match. Turkish Airlines has historically given those out liberally, although dealing with them can take awhile. TAP Air Portugal gives out matches, but requires you to buy miles first. I wouldn’t be surprised if we see more creative ‘purchase status’ offers, along the lines for instance of Avianca selling their status for $2200 (the same, I suppose, as locking in the SAS deal at an 8% loss).